B.C. encourages young adults to make a will

Recent poll suggests 80 per cent of people age 18 to 34 do not have a will.

A province-wide poll conducted for the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. found that 80 per cent of people age 18 to 34 do not have a current and legal will.

While people in that age category may think they don’t need a will, many important life events generally occur during those years that should signal the need for a will such as opening a business, purchasing real estate assets or getting married.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Justice, many people don’t realize that if they die without a will, they are deemed to have died “intestate,” meaning that their estate will be distributed according to the default rules of the wills, estates and succession act (WESA), and not necessarily in accordance with people’s wishes.

The provincial government is now encouraging British Columbians under the age of 40 to make their wills.

The province has proclaimed April 6-12 as “make-a-will week.” In addition, the revised WESA came into force March 31, 2014, and lowered the age at which people can make a will from 19 to 16, and simplified the process of making a will.

“No matter what stage of life you find yourself in – you need a will,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “A will is one of the most important documents you will create in your lifetime.”

According to the poll conducted by the Musltel Group on behalf of the B.C. Society of Notaries Public, 49 per cent of adults age 35 to 54 do not have a will. That figure drops to 17 per cent for people age 55 and over. The Mustel Group polled 502 B.C. adults by phone in March 2014.

“You never know when you will need a will; it’s never too early to make a will and it’s never too late,” said Akash Sablok, President of the Society of Notaries of B.C. For those individuals with an existing will, they should consider revising it every five years or more often if significant changes occur in their life, finances, health or family situation. For more information, visit http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/make-a-will/